Residents call for speedy implementation of devolution

Residents Associations in Matabeleland have urged the government to go beyond political rhetoric and expedite the implementation of devolution.  

This came out during the annual provincial residents` associations summit in Bulawayo which was hosted by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) to share experiences and advocacy issues.

Chapter 14 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, adopted in 2013, provides for the devolution of power from Harare to the country’s 10 provinces.

The same national Charter also stipulates that 5 percent of the national budget should go towards the Provincial Councils.

Speaking during the engagement meeting, Gwanda Residents Association (GRA) secretary-general Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo said political parties used devolution as a campaign gimmick.

“As residents associations, we have talked for too long about devolution, political parties have gone quiet about devolution because originally when the issue came up, the constitution we adopted was a compromised document,” said Maduma.

“When we drafted the constitution in 2013, ZANU PF thought they will win the elections and even MDC  thought they will also win, both  parties targeted that they will win and implement it in their own way, that is why they ended up  saying the act of parliament  will sort the issue out  depending on who got the majority in Parliament.”

Fuzwayo said the government has gone mute on the issue of devolution.

“Politicians realise that their game is over in terms of devolution, the little they can do is wait till 2022. What the government and ZANU PF have done right now is to totally mute the original idea of devolution we had.

“When devolution was passed it was specified and specific in the constitution that an act of Parliament must be promulgated to guide devolution.

“The basis of the success of devolution in Zimbabwe is being sincere, our government is not sincere on devolution lets not hide that fact, the little that they are doing is running around releasing devolution funds,” said Maduma.

He added: “ President Mnangagwa knows that one of the things written down on paper on the day of removal Mugabe was his failure to implement devolution, that thing also hangs on Mnangagwa that on the day we would want to move we will also write to him that he did not implement devolution.

“The little money that came from Mthuli, let us not applaud it because it is illegal as we do not know who received it, to do what, for who and how the basis of these guys is extremely not sincere,” said Maduma.

Vumani Ndlovu from Lupane concurred that devolution lacks a clear framework provision when it comes to provincial councillors.

“Devolution lacks a clear framework on the establishment of provincial councillors, there is no legal framework that backs it,” said Ndlovu.

“The last time we had the issue of devolution being discussed in parliament was when they were talking about changes that have to be made in the constitution regarding provisions of provincial councils.

“Nothing significant is being done to make sure devolution is implemented. The devolution we talked about is the one that will be superintended by provincial councillors,” he said. 

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